Dayton Police say they are continuing to seek ways to teach the public best practices to promote gun safety around juveniles after multiple children in the area have shot themselves or others.
On Monday night, Dayton police and medics were called around 11:15 p.m. to the 800 block of Westwood Avenue after a teenage boy, later identified as 16-year-old Da’Monta Meals, was found lying in the street with a gunshot wound that appears to have been self-inflicted, Dayton Police Major Brian Johns said.
Johns said the 16-year-old was in his mother’s car with a 14-year-old boy when Meals found the firearm in the glove box. The major said one shot was fired inside the vehicle and another was shot as the 14-year-old was running away.
Johns said Dayton Police and local clergy have contacted the boy’s family and they are working to assist them. He said the teen’s death is another example of why practicing gun safety around juveniles should be taken seriously.
“Gun safety is paramount and gun safety begins in the home,” Johns said.
Meals is the third youth from the area who’s been shot so far this month.
On Aug. 2, a 3-year-old boy in Trotwood shot himself in the thigh at the Bloomfield Apartments. Police said the child’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Then on Aug. 5, police said 11-year-old Shamyrion Alexander died when he was shot by an 11-year-old family member when the boys found a gun inside his home in the 1000 block of Randolph Street in Dayton.
Johns said police are meeting with prosecutors this week to discuss possible charges.
He also said they are still investigating the circumstances around both Dayton shootings, but it appears more could have been done to prevent the shootings.
“These guns are in locations where juveniles can get a hold of them, which is an issue,” Johns said. “They’re loaded which is an issue and honestly some of the guns in the cases we are seeing, there shouldn’t be guns in the homes period.”
He said the police department has tried to be proactive on the topic.
“Just last summer we held gun safety classes at our Dayton Police Academy for parents and their youths,” Johns said. “We had food and they could come out but the first night we had like one parent and their child show up and none the remaining sessions so that’s something that we will look at again.”
Some tips Dayton Police have for gun owners with children are storing guns and ammo separately and not letting children know where guns are located in the home.
Gun safety tips from the Dayton Police Department:
- Store guns unloaded and in a locked location out of reach and sight of children.
- All handguns and firearms should have approved child-resistant gunlocks.
- Store ammunition in a separate, locked location not accessible to children.
- Keep keys and lock combinations hidden and never reveal them in front of children.
- Whenever a gun is not being stored, keep it on your person and in your immediate control.
- If you have armed visitors, give them a locked place to store firearms while in your home.
- Never leave guns on a nightstand, table or other place where small children can reach them.